The Arrogance of Governor Andrew Cuomo
Look, if you toast your bagel, I don't know if you're a real New Yorker. If you get on the elevator and start talking to me, I don't know if you're a real New Yorker. You suggest we go to Times Square, you're definitely not a New Yorker. If you talk to your local bodega dude more than your mum, you might be a New Yorker but also an asshole, go call your mum.
Andrew Cuomo, the brash Governor of New York, is 100% from New York. There is no southern hospitality, west coast chill or midwestern charm coming from that man. He comes off as an asshole. And to be fair, many New Yorkers do, but that's what makes New Yorkers appealing. We're charming assholes (the editor-in-chief of Unbiased Opinions is from New York).
Bostonians though, you're just assholes.
Andrew Cuomo, born and raised in Queens, is in his third term as Governor of New York and is following in the footsteps of his father, Mario Cuomo, who was the governor of New York from 1983 to 1994. The Cuomo name looms large in New York politics and is well known amongst New Yorkers.
However, Governor Cuomo gained national attention in 2020 from his COVID press conferences that were held everyday at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. His press conferences that portrayed calmness were a welcoming sight to a city, state and country that was grappling with a disease they had no idea about.
His press conferences were the exact opposite of what we saw coming from the Trump Administration in Washington that continuously downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump's press conferences were rightfully criticized by the media and public as those press conferences spewed lies and tangents such as asking if one should ingest bleach to kill the COVID-19 virus.
Andrew Cuomo's press conferences were given rave reviews by the media and the public. His approval levels sky rocketed as his daily pressers became must watch TV. He became one of Americas most eligible and wanted bachelors.
But behind the scenes of these press conferences and clever power point slides was chaos, dysfunction and arrogance that cost the lives of New Yorkers, possibly in the thousands.
On March 25, 2020, New York State's Health Department, overseen by Governor Cuomo, issued a directive that nursing homes could not reject COVID positive patients into nursing homes if those patients were deemed "medically stable".
This essentially meant, if a patient had tested positive for COVID-19, as long as they were breathing normally, they were allowed to go back into nursing homes. They did not have to test negative to go back.
New York State's health department allowed COVID positive patients into the one area where they should have NEVER been allowed. Nearly 1/3rd of all COVID deaths in New York State are nursing home related (13,000+)
Realizing this was a catastrophic decision, the Governor reversed this order on May 10, 2020 by requiring hospitals to be sure patients released back to nursing homes were testing negative.
But the damage in between this time was already done. According to New York State's Department of Health, 6,326 Covid positive patients were transferred back into nursing home facilities between March 25 and May 8, 2020.
Why did the Governor make the decision to allow COVID positive patients back into nursing home facilities? That seems like a horrible idea
It was a horrible and catastrophic idea.
At the time the decision was made, there was a fear that hospital beds would run out in New York State. Therefore, if the nursing home patient that was in the hospital seemed to be medically stable then they should be transferred back to their facility so that another hospital bed can open up.
The problem is, that person still has COVID and can still spread it to the the group of people that are the most vulnerable. Second, many of these facilities had immunity from lawsuits. In turn, they admitted these nursing home patients back in without having the proper protocols in place to take them back in safely. They also had massive staff shortages. But because they had immunity, many of these facilities didn't heavily invest in the proper protocols that were needed to safely intake these COVID positive patients because financially they couldn't or didn't want to. The immunity to these facilities was granted by Governor Cuomo.
The Governor was stubborn and kept this directive in place even though New York didn't have the feared hospital bed shortage. He quietly reversed his decision on May 10, 2020.
The virus was new, no one really knew what to do, it was chaos. Does he deserve a break?
There is no doubt the initial first wave of the pandemic was chaos. There were so many unknowns and mistakes were inevitable.
But data since the very beginning of the pandemic showed the elderly were the most at-risk population. It made no sense to allow COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing home facilities. They should have been isolated especially when the facilities did not have the proper protocols and materials in place to isolate these patients.
Governor Cuomo and New York's Health Department purposely misled nursing home deaths
New York State's own Democratic Attorney General, Letitia James, released a bombshell investigative report in late January 2021 that showed Governor Cuomo's administration had undercounted nursing home deaths by 40%!
Governor Cuomo has tried to ignore questions and comments about his nursing home decision. His administration has tried their best to avoid blame. In doing so, there were many theories thrown around last year that his administration was undercounting nursing homes deaths.
Turns out, those theories were true and they were proven true by another Democrat! After the Attorney General, Letitia James, released her report, New York State's health department added nearly 4,000 more deaths to their nursing home total the very next day.
The state's health department found a loophole to under count deaths. They did not count those patients that had been moved from a nursing home facility to a hospital and then died in the hospital. Originally, they had only counted those patients that died within the nursing home facility in order to keep the death count in nursing homes lower so that they wouldn't get as much blame as they would've for the nursing home decision back on March 25th.
Governor Cuomo blatantly lied about his nursing home decision in October 2020
In October of 2020, Governor Cuomo, during a press conference call, was asked why he made the decision to allow COVID positive patients back into nursing home facilities.
Cuomo's response was that it was precautionary if hospitals became overwhelmed.
Later he said, "We never needed nursing home beds because we always had hospital beds," Cuomo told Finger Lakes News. "So it just never happened in New York where we needed to say to a nursing home, 'We need you to take this person even though they're Covid-positive.' It never happened."
His own health department reported 6,326 COVID positive patients were sent back into nursing home facilities between March 25th and May 8th.
Several top New York health experts have left New York State's Health Department because of Governor Cuomo
The New York Times released a damning report that was sourced by insiders within the New York State Health Department that many officials were leaving due to Governor Cuomo's arrogance and handling of the virus.
“When I say ‘experts’ in air quotes, it sounds like I’m saying I don’t really trust the experts,” Governor Cuomo said at a news conference in early February, referring to scientific expertise at all levels of government during the pandemic. “Because I don’t. Because I don’t.”
That quote from Cuomo is no different than the sparring President Trump did with Dr. Fauci and other scientific experts publicly. It is irresponsible to say such things in the middle of a pandemic where officials are pleading with the public to TRUST THESE EXPERTS.
That quote directly proves why the deputy commissioner for public health, the director of communicable disease control, the medical director for epidemiology and several others quit working at New York State's Department of Health.
The Governor also took over the vaccine rollout and scrapped the vaccination plans that had been years in the making. Instead of allowing local health departments rollout their vaccine plans since they know their communities best, the Governor decided his administration was going to distribute the vaccine. This caused major delays and chaos in the beginning of the vaccine rollout in New York.
In New York City, the Governor made the Greater New York Hospital Association the vaccination hub instead of New York City's Health Department. The Greater New York Hospital Association is a trade group that has donated major funds to the Governor.
Governor Cuomo published a book about leadership during the COVID 19 pandemic......while the pandemic is still raging
Nothing screams arrogance more than publishing a book about your leadership during the pandemic while the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across New York and the country.
It is so tone deaf to release a book about your leadership when everyday, hundreds of New Yorkers continue to die from the virus. It is so tone deaf to release the book and take a victory lap when you're the Governor of a region that has the highest death toll of the virus in the world. It is so tone deaf to release a book when you told the world, "if you play politics with the virus, you will lose".
Since the book released in October of 2020, 13,000+ New Yorkers have died, indoor dining in New York City was shutdown again and the infection rate ballooned to 8% or higher at times.
The most infuriating aspect in all of this, is the Governor has done a lot of good and would be a very strong Presidential Candidate. Governor Cuomo stabilized an out of control train wreck that was New York in the spring of 2020.
Had the nations leaders taken similar attitudes and steps, like implementing mask mandates, the nations death toll from COVID-19 would no doubt be much less.
But his stubbornness and arrogance prevented him from changing his nursing home directive for nearly 2 months even though he was getting pushback as soon as he made that decision. And after, he and his administration tried to cover up the amount of deaths in nursing homes.
Writing a book and taking a victory lap as the pandemic still rages is as tone deaf as it gets. The media has also largely ignored these scandals and kept the Governor's positive image intact. That blend of calm macho bravado that the world saw in the spring of 2020 was masking a decision that probably cost the lives of many New Yorkers.